“Back in the day, they would’ve got cracks after getting run over #nojoke” says noted enforcer Johnny Boy Gomes.
The surfing world’s been falling over itself in praise of Australian Jack Robinson’s emphatic Sunset victory and 2020 tour qualification.
And rightly so. Such a dominant performance hasn’t been seen since Gabby Medina eviscerated the field at Pipe in 2017.
But should it have been Hawaiian Zeke Lau standing there on the podium across the Kamehameha Highway, guzzling cheap champagne from the winner’s goblet and gushing to Shannon Hughes about how pumped he was for next year’s championship tour?
An incident at the start of the final, almost lost in the background noise of Jack’s performance, has slid that question into the narrative like a cold glance from an old lover.
Zeke’s first wave was a finely threaded tube through the Sunset bowl. The very well constructed Hawaiian took a high line through a collapsing section, momentarily disappearing from view.
Jack had caught the wave previous and was sitting square in the impact zone. Guessing Zeke’s line would have been difficult, with Zeke obscured, but Jack chose to paddle for the shoulder instead of the foam.
He then bailed his board as the lip pitched, arguably causing Zeke to fall as he exited the heaving cavern.
Picture Rick Kane on Vince Mohaloka to get an idea of the transgression.
A high score went begging, as did Zeke’s priority.
At the time there was some brief discussion from the commentary team but little mention of an interference. Both surfers had to swap the boards due to damage sustained.
Soon after Jack started dropping bombs and the incident was, seemingly, forgotten.
The two surfers even shared a warm embrace after the buzzer.
But today Zeke took to his instagram to give his side of the story.
“When a surfer is put in a position while paddling out that they cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the judges to call interference based on whether it is determined to be accidental or not”.
My opinion is that we are “professional surfers”. The best of the best! Going off the rule, surfer in white COULD have gotten out of the way. From this video clip you can see surfer in white has enough time to make a conscious decision where to paddle. Just so happens that the line he chose is directly where I drew my line to come out of the barrel, which is the ONLY option I had. The surfer paddling out has options to avoid the surfer on the wave. He should be in the channel paddling back out. It should come down to who had priority over the situation. These 2 surfers are not equal in this specific case and the rules should benefit the surfer on the wave utilizing priority.
This ride would have been the first major score of the heat, but was deemed incomplete because surfer in white chose to BAIL his surfboard causing me to fall off, hindering the scoring potential of my wave, breaking my board, and leaving white with priority. How is it okay for the interfering surfer to gain so much advantage from a collision and an interference not be called?
The highlighted rule 168 section 3 ENABLES controversy and should be addressed.
Thanks to everyone for all the supportive messages. Let me know what you guys think!”
Zeke needed the win to requalify for next year.
Very high stakes, as they say.
The absolute dominance of Jack on the rest of the final was inarguable, however.
But was this a Sliding Boards moment?
Should Jack have copped an interference? Did the early collision throw Zeke off his game, thus robbing him of a fair chance to win?
Zeke seems to be stopping short of calling for a review and potential re-surf aka Medina in Portugal.
But he is calling for the WSL to review rule 168 section 3.
Jack himself has since responded to the post: “Everyone has there (sic) opinion, but when you are in the moment the only thing I thought of was to get to the shoulder and also not get ran over it was safety first for me. I have the highest ever respect for you Zeke so I would never try and get in the way of you.”
We’ll leave the last word to Johnny Boy Gomes:
“Back in the day, they would’ve got cracks after getting run over #nojoke”